HVAC Made-To-Order

Is your food service facility serving the same old food? If not, the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems serving the facility need to change with the times as well. With food service moving toward made-to-order service for students, even in cafeteria atmospheres, the HVAC system should and can follow suit. Below are some suggestions to save energy and cost as well as potentially increase occupant comfort.

Variable Exhaust System Based On Demand

Direct exhaust from a kitchen hood is required by building codes. The quality of exhaust is based on the type of food service equipment in operation below the hood. When planning your next project with a kitchen hood, consider a system with sensors that automatically increase or decrease exhaust airflow rates based on the actual food service equipment in operation. This not only saves energy, both from exhaust and make-up air systems, but also meet code requirements for automatic start functionality. These sensors sense heat and smoke as well as measure temperature to energize the exhaust fan. If you have an existing kitchen hood already in place, consider adding a sensor system to reduce energy use.

Make-Up Air From Adjacent Dining Room

With the made-to-order delivery methodology, service stations with kitchen hoods tend to be more dispersed and within dining areas. These areas have specific cooling and heating needs for occupant comfort. That same air can be utilized as make-up for the kitchen hood exhaust. However, it is important to provide a means for air return to the primary heating/cooling system should the hoods be inactive. Full return air operation also helps with morning warm-up/cool down.

Demand Controlled Ventilation

As discussed with other types of spaces like conference rooms and auditoriums, demand controlled ventilation can be used to reduce energy consumed for conditioning the seating areas adjacent to food service facilities. Demand controlled ventilation is the adjustment of the outside airflow coming into the primary heating/cooling system based on actual space occupancy as measured by the carbon dioxide detectors. Adjusting ventilation rates to meet actual occupancy saves energy when outside air conditions are not suitable for economizer operation. The use of the dining spaces can vary widely, matching both exhaust and ventilation system capability with this variability can save energy over the life of the system.

Optimizing your facilities’ exhaust and make-up air systems can save significant energy and reduce building operating costs. It takes planning and coordination with food service designers, users and staff to understand facility requirements and use. If you need assistance understanding more about your existing make-up and exhaust system or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Doug Barnhart, PE at (717) 845-7654 or dcb@ba-inc.com.

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